As I’ve remarked before, we live not in a world of two spatial dimensions but of three. Capturing all three dimensions is a task that falls to many a geospatial professional and while there are some obvious differences in capturing height, compared with length and breadth, for the most part, that z-coordinate is just an extra column in a spreadsheet or file.
The question of how to see its implications, though, is a far harder one. But the industry has been dealing with 3D visualisation for some time now, helped in part by advances in computing power.
This issue, we look at various uses of 3D visualisation technology. In the US, as John Stenmark reports on page 34 of this issue, it’s being implemented to help preserve a historic landmark and spread public awareness by creating a virtual tour of the site. Meanwhile, on page 40, Viktoria Langley reports on how mobile LiDAR trolleys are being used in Germany to create new floorplans for shops. These offer the versatility of the third dimension that old paper charts never used to provide.
However, 3D visualisation can work both ways – visualisation first, reality second. On page 38, Andrew Watts explores how it can be used to create buildings by simulating them in an environment without the restrictions of reality. Stakeholders can comment and real-world processes implemented to make real what had only existed in the mind. The result? Buildings unlike anything seen before.
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